The next day they all piled in for some fun

It was still sunny the next day

when my friends showed up on the steps

to play with our new pal.

On the steps in the sunshine


I began introductions.

First the 3 wish rocks

First, meet the 3 wish rocks.

The brothers Cairnmotzov.

The Brothers Cairnmotzov
whose dream is to be a balancing act in the circus.


Seaweed Sam.
Who couldn’t stay long because of the sun.
He didn’t want to dry out so we threw him back in the sea in a sec.


a shard of his former self but whole nonetheless,
with a great sense of humor.

The Claw

And “The Claw”
a retired world-class wrestler who still likes to tease the kids.

All in good fun, of course.

shell meets stones

Shy shell said hello.

Nice to meet you.

The Cairnmotzov Brothers were too polite to mention
the shred of seaweed stuck to his lip.

what to do?

We sat and talked awhile. Mostly small talk. Getting to know you kind of stuff.
Then I asked,

What should we do?

I did not expect what happened next.

They wanted to play the “clowns in a Volkswagen game”
and I couldn’t stop them.

The three little stones piled inside first.

what happened next

The waves applauded.

Suddenly it seems I had met a whole new creature.

Friends for Life.

It was astounding how they formed themselves a troupe.

The Brothers Cairnmotzov called their agent to see if together
all six of them might apply for the circus.

I haven’t heard from them since.

Keep an eye out for them, will you?

A few soul steps to liberate yourself from a life of posing

Do you feel like a windvane
Do you ever feel like  a windvane,
running in vain, going nowhere,
waiting for a gust to change your direction?

Sitting still

Or do you feel like you sit still all day?

Sitting on the sand with a hint of sunshine

Sitting surrounded by infinite grains of sand
casting long shadows with that slight slant of sun.

Stand up and take a step

What will make you stand up and take a first step?

Start walking

And keep going, as awkward as it feels.

Keep going

Even if you have to drag that damn poser post behind you for now…

Take an even bigger step

Take an even bigger step, even if you feel off balance.

Ask for help

You might need to ask for help before the tide gets any higher.
Those willing to help will appear.

Then dance

Which is great cuz  then
you’ll have someone to dance with.

It’s your Liberated Soul Swing!

Encounter at the Islandwood Suspension Bridge

Chapter One. Crossing to the Other Side.

Taking my first steps onto the suspension bridge at islandwood

Step one. Step onto the bridge. Don’t look down.

Move toward the light.Step two. Move toward the light. Don’t look down.

Half way there.Step three. Half way. Look up.

keep goingStep four. Dancing now. Step ball change.

Chapter Two. The Other Side.

Like a signpost.

The signpost isn’t the only one who can stand on one leg.

Left leg leaping.Left leg leap (a wise woman once said “left is the spiritual side”).

Stump jumping.Stump jumping.

Light drips off my feet.Light drips from my feet.

Light drops.Magical forest… light really is dripping from my feet.

Chapter 3. Leaf Goddess Appears

I sprout leaf wings

Ta da! I sprout leaf wings.

I am a leaf peacock.I am a leaf peacock.

Thank you, AutumnSummer ends.

Thank you, Autumn.

Brought to you by Sahale, LLC suspension bridges company.This blog brought to you by the lure of the Sahale bridge at Islandwood.

Emotikin sits under the Sword of Damocles to see how cancer survivors feel…

Does Emotikin’s wife have an ever better view of that damn sword?

Under the Sword of Damocles

Get out from under that Damocles Sword

Read Damocles’ Wife to see how one family learned how to get out
from under that sword and finally embrace life with all of its changes.

Read Damocles' Wife

Damocles’ Wife: The Inside Story of Cancer Caregiving & Long-Term Survival in the Midst of Motherhood, Marriage & Making Life Matter
by Shelly L. Francis  

If you’ve ever wondered how you might find the courage, hope, and faith to face the challenges of cancer and caregiving, you’re not alone. Damocles’ Wife reveals the inner journey of a cancer caregiver, a young wife and mother whose husband becomes a long-term survivor of brain cancer.

Follow their story, inside and out, through nine months of treatment: brain surgery, radiation, tumor doubles, second opinions, second surgery–this time awake–with photodynamic therapy, chemo, chemo, chemo, then high-dose chemotherapy with stem-cell rescue. Recovery…

Given a prognosis of two to five years, maybe ten, for his astrocytoma, Scott invoked his inner samurai to face aggressive traditional treatment, combined with integrative medicine like Healing Touch. Meanwhile, Shelly called on her inner resources, plus the rest of Scott’s caregiving crew, so that she could take care of him, herself, and their preschooler son, Wil, and still be standing no matter what.

This is the whole family’s story of learning to cope not only with the practical aspects of cancer and caregiving but, most essentially, how to really survive—in your soul. Join their journey as they learn to take down the Sword of Damocles hanging over Scott’s head and finally embrace life with all of its changes.

The first caregiver memoir to address long-term cancer survival, Damocles’ Wife will resonate with families facing cancer of all kinds, families dealing with chronic illness, disability, and dementia, as well as families of returning soldiers now facing life with traumatic brain injury.

What is the Sword of Damocles ( DAM-uh-kleez) ?

Read more about Damocles at WikipediaIn Damocles’ Stories, the foreword written by Clarissa Pinkola Estés, PhD (author of Women Who Run with the Wolves), readers will gain insight into the cultural legend of the Sword of Damocles (pronounced DAM-uh-kleez) from Greek history and her own “peasant” family’s stories passed down through generations. The anecdote originates from the 4th century court of Dionysius II, as told by Cicero. A courtier, Damocles, so admired and pandered to the king that Dionysius invited Damocles to sit on his throne at a feast. But he arranged for a sharp sword to hang over Damocles’ head by the single hair of a horse’s tail, proving to Damocles the sense of constant fear under which “the great man lives.” (Illustration from the Damocles entry in WikipediaRichard Westall’s Sword of Damocles, 1812.)

In 1981, researchers named Gerald P. Koocher, PhD, and John D. O’Malley, MD, authored a book called TheDamocles’ Syndrome in which they described the long-term, persistent fear that survivors of childhood cancer feel, ever wondering when their cancer might return and kill them.

In Damocles’ Wife, Shelly Francis offers her own viewpoint of how cancer caregivers are perhaps even more aware of that Sword of Damocles’ hanging over the head of their loved one and what the threat of cancer recurrence means for their own unknown future. Here is an excerpt from Damocles’ Wife:

“Only Scott and I knew, as we feasted, that a sharp samurai sword hung in the air over our table, over Scott’s head, his Sword of Damocles. From where I sat, I could see it quite plainly. Is that the caregiver’s curse—to notice that sword on a thread more often, more clearly, than the patient himself? It was time to step out from under that sword.”

Download Chapter One (PDF)

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Brought to you by the letter Hh #ced2010

Writing the letter Hh in Vimala Rodgers' font

Transforming with the letter Hh

Taking the 40-Day Challenge

Taking the 40-Day Challenge

My friend Crystal did an Emotikin photoshoot this week with my favorite interactive kit from author Vimala Rodgers called Transform Your Life Through Handwriting: How the Pen Can Unlock Your Soul’s Potential (Sounds True, 2009). I am lucky enough to be the kit’s publicist for my day job and as part of the process, I spent months playing with the alphabet according to Vimala (and countless nights dreaming about it as my brain was processing the new neuroplasticity of changing the way I wrote my letters).   

As a kid I used to practice my handwriting for hours,  using my left and my right hand, immitating my mom’s handwriting, pretending to be a teacher, making up my own fonts, practicing my new lastname (my new “autograph” as Vimala calls it) before I got married. This kit completely resonates with me.   

I took her 40-Day Challenge to write at least a page a day full of a letter plus journaling on how the letter’s energy could effect changes in my life. Last night I reread my journal and it’s fascinating to see what changed in a year and how my penmanship (she doesn’t call it that though) has stabilized into a somewhat new style (at least for many letters).   

The letter Hh was one of my favorites to work on, partly because the associated animal is the butterfly. (Crystal didn’t know that when she did the photoshoot with her Emotikin wearing butterfly wings.) I love the daily “Declaration of Intent” for the letter Hh:   

I, Shelly, live my life path with the zeal of an evangelist and the wide-eyed innocence of a child.

Vimala graciously allowed me to paste an excerpt from her guidebook here. You can also visit to learn more and follow her on Twitter @vimalarodgers.   

Excerpted with permission. © 2009 Vimala RodgersThe Letter Hh

Soul Quality: Dynamic self-expression. The Letter Hh emits one of the most powerfully propelling energies in the entire alphabet. Just look at it. It introduces itself with two “I am” strokes. It doesn’t get much better than that! If you practice it daily and draw into your life as many of its aspects as you possibly can, get ready for the adventure of your life. We often backpedal rather than share the vision of how we want to shape our dreams in the world. Why? We’re convinced that someone will douse our dreams with negativity. The Letter Hh won’t allow it. It not only moves you forward, it invites you to learn necessary lessons from the blind alleys you encounter along the way and guides you through them with dynamic, not-forsissies energy. If you want to put firm footing on your intended life path, this is the letter to adopt. As a sidebar, I have practiced the Letter Hh daily for more than 30 years; not surprisingly, I experience its “Just go do it!” energy each day—yes, each day. Miracles and open doors greet me everywhere I go.   

Declaration of Intent:  I live my life path with the zeal of an evangelist and the wide-eyed innocence of a child.   

Alphabetical Family:  The Letter Hh is the youngest child in the Family of Honoring and Expressing. All the letters in this family—Mm, Nn, and Hh—convey one message “Risk! Be true to yourself! Get out there in your life and do it!”   

Element: Fire. The fuel of the letter Hh is to blaze a path through life fully and with joy.   

Gender: Masculine. The Letter Hh is full to bursting with generative energy.   

Here is my Blue Lace Agate (says Shelly) It has great ju-ju.

Gemstone: Blue lace agate. If you have dreams of making the world a happier place yet can’t quite organize them into a profession, purchase and wear the blue lace agate. Find a good-size raw one and place it on your altar. If you don’t have an altar, make one. It’s simply a way of acknowledging that someone higher than you is running the show. By placing a blue lace agate on your altar, you are saying, “We’re in this together. Inflame my life path with your guidance, grace, and blessings.” I wear a blue lace agate every day and have one on my altar as well.   

Animal: Butterfly. The butterfly is the quintessential expression of freedom from a confining self-image. It begins life as a creepy crawly little caterpillar and then, when the time is right, it wraps a cocoon around itself. After a gestation period the cocoon begins to crack, then open. Then, lo and behold, out comes not a little worm-shaped creature, but a magnificent creation of varied colors and designs—with wings! A butterfly! To see the butterfly and the Alphabet in concert, visit Appendix C.   

Guardian Protector: Cerviel (Sir-vee-EL)—the angel of courage. When President Woodrow Wilson asked that Alice Paul be put in an insane asylum for insisting that women have the right to vote, this was the reply of the M.D. who denied his request:  “Courage in women is often mistaken for insanity.”   

Cerviel fills you with irresolute courage when others may question the validity of your lifework because it’s unfamiliar to them or, more likely, because it’s never been done before. When you feel cornered by negative judgments, strike up a conversation with Cerviel as you write your Letter Hh. Trust me — she will be right there to keep your intentions alive and give you what it takes to carry on. I speak from experience when I say that she will remind you again and again that “This is your life — not anyone else’s. I am right here to give you what you need: opportunities and the courage to embrace them. Now go — Live your life path fully!”   

How to Inscribe the Most Self-affirming Hh    


  • Inscribe an “I am” stroke firmly to the baseline. Pick up the pen.
  • To the right of it, inscribe another “I am” stroke. Do not pick up the pen.
  • Now draw a gentle curve back to the left of the initial downstroke, creating a horizontal loop at the top of the midzone.
  • Finish the letter with a vigorous rightward stroke. Feel the vitality of this letter!


  • • Beginning at the baseline, fashion a looped lowercase “l.”
  • • Once you return to the baseline, do not retrace up the “l” shape; instead create a v shape at the baseline as you pull away to inscribe the arcade.
  • • End with a soft curve at the baseline.


  • Do not begin the lowercase h up in the air; ground it at the baseline. • Draw a loop in the stem of the lowercase; no sticks please.


I could go on for hours about how much I love Vimala’s handwriting technology. One of my favorite things is that she says to start with the letter of your firstname because it represents your soul’s greatest challenge and once mastered, your soul’s greatest gift. My letter, then — Ss — represents “balance in all aspects of life.”  

For a recovering perfectionist, this is definitely a letter I benefitted from focusing on for 40 days. Vimala also gave me the added task of writing the ligature Sh together, as that has an added meaning. I’ll tell you more about that another time.   

Do visit and to learn more from one of my favorite teachers of all time.  And please note her Five Noble Truths of Integral Handwriting include “there is no such thing as good or bad handwriting…”   

Living life with zeal Practice the letter Hh if you want to
stride forth on your life path with confidence, zeal, and joy.